The following provides a general guide only. Specific details should be obtained from your Cost Centre (Faculty or Central Administration) or the outside studies scheme policy. Refer to OSP policy, forms and guidelines for further information.


What is OSP?

The Outside Studies Program (OSP) provides academic staff with a period free from normal academic responsibilities (while receiving substantive salary) for the purpose of:

  • pursuing sustained research and scholarly enrichment in another institution or research organisation
  • gaining experience in teaching and supervision
  • gaining experience in course and curriculum development
  • upgrading professional expertise by placement with a government agency, professional organisation or private industry
  • enhancing artistic performance and creative growth
  • re-training for new roles within the University
  • keeping abreast of recent developments and improvements in research techniques
  • undertaking studies for the completion of a higher degree.

What are the University's requirements?

Prior to undertaking an OSP, you must:

Whilst undertaking an OSP, you must:

On completion of the OSP you must:

  • return to the University by the date agreed as part of the approved program and resume all normal duties
  • serve for a period equivalent to twice the length of the approved program, or a minimum of 6 months
  • submit a satisfactory written report of the work undertaken within two months of return.

What are the University's expectations?

An OSP is expected to contribute to your professional growth in ways that will enhance your capacity to contribute to the activities of the University.

The program you undertake should reflect your level of academic appointment. For example:

  • Level A and B academics are expected to undertake programs that enable them to continue to develop within their discipline or profession
  • Level C academics are expected to undertake programs that extend their discipline or profession
  • Level D and E academics are expected to undertakes programs that bring distinction to the University and their discipline or profession.

After a first period of OSP and subsequently, the University expects evidence of your professional growth such as a steady output of publications, teaching achievements, or other relevant material.

If you do not produce such evidence, the University is entitled to conclude that you have not made a genuine academic effort and would consequently would not approve further investments in OSP for you.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible to accrue qualifying service for an OSP you must occupy a post at a fraction of 0.4 and above (excluding casual and research-only staff).

To be eligible to take an initial OSP:

  • continuing/convertible appointees must have had your appointment confirmed on a continuing basis
  • fixed-term appointees must:
    • have served three continuous years
    • have an appointment of sufficient length to allow you to return to the University for a period equal to twice the length of the approved program or a period of six months, whichever is the lesser
    • not be about to resign or retire, unless the return requirements above can be met and substantial benefits to the Cost Centre/University can be demonstrated.

The qualifying service for an OSP program accrues at the rate of six weeks for every twelve months of continuous service, up to a maximum of eighty months (40 weeks).

How do I apply?

You must submit an application form. You are required to provide information on:

  • your proposed program and justification of venue and duration
  • the relationship between your proposed program and your university activities
  • the objectives of the proposed program, and how they will be achieved
  • the outcome of your previous OSP
  • your current research interests
  • your publications:
    • during the last four years or since your last OSP
    • their relationship with your last OSP
  • teaching/consulting obligations (Extra Mural Work approval should be sought, if necessary) to be undertaken
  • financial aspects:
    • financial support requested
    • travel costs
    • assistance from other sources.

The amount of detail required in the application form indicates that considerable planning is required prior to the the actual submission of the form.

Non-Faculty academic staff should use the standard application form. Faculty academic staff may need to use a Faculty-specific application form. Refer to OSP policy, forms and guidelines for further information.

When do I apply?

Check with your Cost Centre (ie Faculty or Central Administration) guidelines or with relevant staff for timelines and closing dates for applications. Refer to OSP policy, forms and guidelines for further information.

Where do I apply?

Application forms are lodged with your Cost Centre (ie Faculty or Central Administration). The invitations for applications provide the name of the person to whom applications should be forwarded.

When considering whether to recommend approval of your OSP, it is the responsibility of the head of your academic organisational unit/supervisor to:

  • assess the application
  • specify coverage of your duties in your absence
  • determine the benefits that can be gained from your OSP to Cost Centre/ University
  • evaluate the success of any previous OSPs.

Final approval rests with the head of your Cost Centre (for staff in non-Faculty units, the Deputy-Vice-Chancellor (Academic)).

What funding is available?

Funding may be available through:

  • your Cost Centre
  • grants
  • your consulting fund
  • extra-mural work.

Cost Centre funding

  • Granted only for programs undertaken outside South Australia.
  • Refer to your Cost Centre's guidelines for the amount of financial support that may be granted.


  • You can apply for research grants offered by other institutions.
  • For further information refer to Office of Research's grants and funding information.

Consulting fund

  • This fund can be used to pay for expenditure in connection with your work.
  • Expenditure incurred through carrying out your OSP qualifies as expenditure in connection with your work. For example, costs for accommodation, travel, car or equipment hire.
  • Establish your consulting fund account as soon as possible.
  • Refer to the University's rules for consulting funds.

Extra-mural work

  • A means of building up your Consulting fund whilst carrying out your normal University duties
  • A possible source of funds if your OSP is undertaken interstate or overseas
  • Refer to the University's policy for Extra-mural work.

Do I need to maintain a travel diary while on OSP?

Yes. you must maintain a travel diary while on OSP so that on your return:

  • the University has verification that you actually did undertake the OSP
  • you have something to refer to when you prepare your report
  • you have something to refer to when claiming taxation deductions for expenses.

There are no guidelines as to the amount of detail that needs to be included in the travel diary, but it could reasonably be expected that you would have at least one entry per day indicating hours worked.

For an example Business Travel Diary and the Business Travel Diary form, refer to Financial Services forms.

What taxation issues do I need to be aware of?

Although the travel diary makes reference to fringe benefits tax, this is not applicable to funding provided by the Cost Centre for an OSP.

However, income tax does apply as the funding is paid to you through your payroll.

You must, therefore, keep details of work related expenses so that you can claim taxation deductions.

What happens to my leave while on OSP?

OSP is a period of absence with salary from the University. It is not holiday leave, long service leave or leave of absence without salary. You may apply to attach a period of long service leave to an OSP.

While you are undertaking your OSP:

  • normal leave entitlements accrue
  • qualifying service continues to accumulate.

While it is understood that your OSP may be constrained by time, it should be regarded as normal employment as far as non-work/leisure time is concerned. Formal recreation leave must be applied for in the normal way.

What am I required to do when I get back?

You are required to:

  • resume your normal duties on return to the University
  • submit a satisfactory written report of the work undertaken. This report must be submitted within two months of your return.

What should be in the report I present at the end of the OSP?

The report is expected to be approximately three pages long and should cover the following points:

  • duration of the program
  • brief itinerary
  • details of visits to institutions including dates, names of persons visited, purpose of the visit, nature of work done, titles of any seminars presented
  • purpose and basic objectives of the OSP as approved by your Cost Centre
  • details of the program undertaken and the extent to which the objectives were met
  • the benefits to the University and yourself as a consequence of your OSP
  • details of any work to be published as a result of activities undertaken during your OSP
  • details of any conferences attended and papers presented;
  • details of any teaching undertaken
  • details of any financial assistance subsequently received from external sources.

In particular, provide details of any variation from the approved OSP in either your itinerary or the program, and the reason for the variation.

The amount of information required in the report indicates that the keeping of a detailed travel diary is important.

For assistance in preparing the report:

There is a standard guideline document that should be referred to by all non-Faculty academic staff. There may be specific Faculty guidelines that should be referred to by Faculty academic staff. Refer to OSP policy, forms and guidelines for further information.